MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday he is not concerned about his future as his side prepare to face Paris St Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie which could determine whether he continues at the club.
The Frenchman became the first coach in the Champions League era to successfully defend the trophy last season and also led Real to the La Liga title. However, this season his side have fallen 17 points behind league leaders Barcelona, damaging his managerial reputation.
With Real also out of the King’s Cup, the clash against the Ligue 1 leaders and their ferocious trident of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe represents an opportunity to salvage one of the club’s worst campaigns in recent history.
“Right now I‘m not thinking about my future, I‘m only thinking about the game as it’s the only thing we can control so we’re focusing on preparing for the game and we’ll see what happens,” Zidane told a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s first leg in Madrid.
”Every game and every training session is important to me but my future is not important. I‘m very happy about playing these types of games, today there’s no pressure in particular, we’ve prepared the game in the same way we always do.
“There will always be pressure here, it’s something habitual, but I‘m going to keep enjoying myself.”
Zidane is facing a French team for the first time since taking the reins at Real in 2016, but said he had nothing to prove back in his home country.
“We’re not going to change what people think of us, all we can do is work hard, and working hard is my passion. I try to transmit things to my players but I have nothing to prove tomorrow, I just want to play the game, I don’t care what people say about me,” he said.
Madrid left back Marcelo said he and his team mates were still fully behind their embattled manager, who has won a total of eight trophies since succeeding Rafa Benitez.
“Our coach is very close to the players, he has helped us a lot and continues to help us,” said the Brazilian.
“He’s a great coach, it’s true we’re not in the situation we want to be but he’s doing everything to get us back to where we were. He’s very patient, he believes in his work and we believe in him and his work.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge